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The majority of Brits are disabling government-backed porn filters

Matt Brian, @m4tt
07.23.14
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Don't be too shocked, but the UK government's porn filter isn't proving very popular. A new report from communications regulator Ofcom reveals that just one in every seven customers are letting the big four UK ISPs guard them from porn and other online nasties. While tiny minorities of users at Virgin Media (four percent), BT (five percent) and Sky (eight percent) opted to keep the filter, TalkTalk ranked as a significant outlier: it reports that 36 percent of customers enabled the government-mandated filters on their home router. TalkTalk puts it down to the fact it pre-ticks the selection box, meaning more customers are likely to keep the option enabled on their account.

Since December 2013, all new subscribers to these ISPs have been forced into an "unavoidable choice," which allows them to either enable or disable blocks on adult content (including sex, drugs, alcohol, weapons and file-sharing). Virgin Media has shirked that responsibility somewhat, as it only enabled filters in February and has since presented the choice to only 35 percent of customers. However, it blames its complicated installation process (which requires a lengthy engineer visit) for the lack of coverage. Ofcom's findings indicate that a large number of UK households want to be the master of their broadband destiny. Not surprising, really, given that the government has erroneously blocked educational, medical and emergency resources in the past.

[Image credit: hehaden, Flickr]

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